Cash And Expense Management: Building Finance’s Influence In Midsize Businesses

Ben Brewer

Part three of the four-part series “Finance’s Transformational Role in Growing Businesses

Cash and expense management are two of the most powerful forms of leverage for finance leaders of midsize companies. When combined, they enable considerable decision-making influence in the realm of growth and expansion.

When this superpower is compromised by inaccurate information, however, the business might find itself moving forward without the proper guidance to make sound purchase and investment decisions.

Fortunately, according to the IDC InfoBrief “The Finance Role in Best-Run Midsize Companies: Improving Decision Making Using Intelligent Technologies,” a growing segment of finance leaders from midsize companies is beginning to take this risk seriously. Over 75% of those working at best-run businesses consider expense and spend management a priority. And, perhaps more interesting, another finding indicated that approximately 85% of those surveyed use intelligent technology to automate expense reporting and support cash applications and clearing systems.

Focus on growth, not reactive cash and expense control

The traditional objective of cash and expense management for growing companies is knowing where money is generated, how it is invested, and who is spending it. But for best-run companies, this aspect of finance is much more valuable: it’s a critical asset for proactive decision-making.

In fact, the IDC InfoBrief revealed that over half of best-run finance organizations are adopting innovative technology to help the business move away from reactive spending. By proactively weighing potential options, decision-makers can choose the best scenario before a contract is signed and a transaction is completed.

use of technology by best-run finance teams

Source: The Finance Role in Best-Run Midsize Companies: Improving Decision Making Using Intelligent Technologies,” IDC InfoBrief, sponsored by SAP, 2019.

Thanks to the cloud, it’s never been more affordable for finance teams in midsize companies to steer in the right direction with technology investments that are typically the province of large enterprises. Whether leasing office space, buying computers, or hiring new colleagues, finance can help organizational decision-makers better understand and predict expenses, obligations, and risk with real-time insights presented in a decision-ready format.

Take, for example, the use of cloud-based predictive analytics reporting. Finance leaders can equip every area – from sales and marketing to operations and HR – with real-time information such as expenses based on receipt images, policy compliance, and payment and reimbursement processing. By consolidating business-wide financial information into one source, finance can extend decision-making power to organizational leaders, enabling them to resolve budget and procurement challenges. And they can do so anytime, anywhere, and on any device – with accurate and actionable data.

The cloud also presents the opportunity to define the terms of the service in a way that fully benefits midsize businesses for the long run. Based on a defined contract and thresholds, their partnership with a cloud provider becomes a trusted relationship, where specific outcomes will be delivered as expected. There’s no red tape locking the business down from moving to a different provider. Instead, the provider is invested in building its value by delivering capabilities that address needs appropriately and on demand, no matter how quickly the business grows.

Become a strategic partner of trusted and shared decision-making

Financial leaders are always looking for areas to cut costs to improve the bottom line. The choices are challenging, and the problems are complicated. And sometimes, inefficiencies hide in plain sight.

Frequently, this reality puts finance organizations in a difficult spot. Yet this situation can change dramatically through the simplification of cash and expense reporting and business-wide democratization of insight. Every organizational decision-maker can quickly catch opportunities for financial improvement, agree on significant budget cuts, and demonstrate gains as related to their business area.

But more importantly, the entire business can work together to reach common goals.

Discover how finance organizations can drive insight and guidance that powers real growth for midsize businesses. We invite you to bookmark our series landing page, “Finance’s Intelligent Influence in Growing Businesses,” and check it for new insights and best practices. 

 In the meantime, read the IDC InfoBrief, sponsored by SAP, “The Finance Role in Best-Run Midsize Companies: Improving Decision Making Using Intelligent Technologies.”

 And if you want more insights and perspectives from finance and SAP leaders on their experiences in finance transformation, we invite you to visit the on-demand SAP Finance and Risk Management Virtual Event.

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Ben Brewer

About Ben Brewer

Ben Brewer is senior vice president and general manager of the global Small to Midsize Business (SMB) division at SAP Concur, one of the world’s largest providers of integrated travel, expense, and invoice management solutions. In this role, Ben leads a sales organization of nearly 1,000 employees throughout North America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific. A seasoned executive, Ben uses his nearly 15 years of leadership experience in the technology industry to help SAP customers accelerate revenue and business growth. He is passionate about offering scalable solutions that allow SMB customers to reach a level of spend visibility and control that traditionally has only been achievable by larger enterprises.